Thursday, January 31, 2008

Just Another Day

Nothing momentous to report just now. The decorating's all done and the house is settling back to normal. I walk over to the studio each day and get on with something or other. Today I took a detour across the Lune to Skerton to have a dental check-up. All OK on that front. Walked back across the Lune by way of Millenium Bridge and up Vicarage Fields past Priory Church then down the hill in the Castle's shadow to the studio. All done in a rising gale. The wind force was such that a couple of times I was brought to a standstill.
Esconsed in the studio I settled down toworking up some finished drawings from sketchbook work done over this last year or so. This piece of beach at Larnaca is the latest example. Its size is 60 x 42 cm (A2).

Thursday, January 24, 2008

In the New Studio

My studio space at Luneside is already beginning to look as if I had always been there. Its hard to believe that we moved in less than a month ago. There are one or two features that betray our short time there, the notice board is looking a bit bare as are the walls. The other give-away is its still clean. This is a significant fact considering I usually work in graphite which is a notoriously black medium.
This is the finished work I had on the drawing board at the time the previous photo was taken. I am still exploring themes associated with Greek myth. This image is of Electra (Ηλεκτρα), the name means "Amber", she was the daughter of Agamemnon who led the Greek forces in the Trojan war. On his return home he was assassinated by his wife Clytemnestra. Electra plotted to avenge this by arranging her mother's death.
The story is rather complex, The Orestian Trilogy by Aeschylus gives the best account. It was all to do with family a feud. The plotting and counterplotting and carnage makes The Godfather seem rather tame by comparison.
But the story is just background information for the project. What I am exploring is the figures of that period and their evocation of a bygone era. Something that sits in the subconscious, a dream lost in the mists of time and yet.....
It still makes a tenuous connection to us in the present. Certainly in the Eastern Mediterranean this thread is not entirely lost.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Abroad thoughts from Home

It is raining like it has never rained before. It did so yesterday and the the day before that. The skies are like a heavy sheet of lead. It feels like it has always been this way. It is dark until 10-00 am and dusk comes very early. Sunset times are around 4-30pm, but it is dark long before then. Yes, this is a Northern Land. Scandinavia have even darker winters.... small wonder their artists such as Ibsen, Strindberg, Munch and Sibelius produced such heavy stuff. Perhaps I should include the Russians here; Dostoevsky, Tolstoy, Tchaikovski......
But on the brighter side, I can look forward to my next residency in Cyprus, Paphos this time. I'll be there for six weeks, flying out on April 14. Then I do the whole thing again in Larnaka during October.
This is the beach at Limassol in winter. Abroad thoughts from home....

Thursday, January 10, 2008

A Room with a View.

I think there is a film if not a novel by that name, but it seems appropriate here. It is raining like it has never rained afore here in darkest Lancaster. Darkest because the rainclouds lay so thick over the city that daylight didn't register until a couple of hours after the dawn. This is the view from the upstairs front studio space, not mine. My studio space is upstairs in the centre of the building. The picture is a bit foggy because the windows need a bit of a clean. The property has been empty for over a year.
I found a (relatively) clean bit of window to take this shot of John o' Gaunt's Gateway mentioned in yesterday's Blog. On the left of the picture is Hadrian's Tower and on the right, just beyond the tower with windows in it is the Witches Tower where, as the name suggests, is where the Pendle Witches of 1612 were held. Lancaster Castle has been a prison for many centuries and remains such to this day. However, non-prison sections are open to visitors. Check it out here.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

All Change, I guess.

Now we are in the throes of moving equipment in and around the studios, a process that keeps me at Castle Park for most of every day, other things come along needing immediate attention and about the same amount of physical energy. The decorators are in my house just now so I need to be on hand to help my other half clear the appropriate room(s) in preparation. At the moment it is the stairs and landing but by friday it will be the living room. Once that room is dismantled it means this PC will be shut down for a la'al bit.

My studio space has got its furniture, my old swivel armchair, drawing board and stand plus a side table also some shelving and an old bookcase from home. As the boxes and crates are unpacked, long forgotten paintings come to light and our respective spaces get filled up with them. We have allocated a room for storage of work but we need to see what we have and where to put it. So things are still a bit chaotic. Not much opportunity for making art just now.
We had visits from the fire official and the security expert who have told us how to operate the alarm systems and how they work. If I am the first to arrive at the studio I must remember to neutralis the security system unless I want see two flouro-yellow coated policemen and their brightly coloured car at the door. Hmm..... Bet we have a few false alarms before we get used to things.

Saturday, January 05, 2008

Luneside studios

At long last Luneside Studios have moved in to their new premises on 26 Castle Park, Lancaster. The property is adjacent to the Storey Institute which is undergoing development, hence all the barricades around the place. There is much to do before we call call ourselves fully operational. All our equipment is in there but not in its proper place. Also there is paintwork to do and the thousand and one other little jobs that seem to crop up on such occaissions.
Despite the long wait, we now have a comfortable new place as can be seen by my own rather bare looking studio space. If you look closely you may notice the skirting boards and door need a lick of paint. We're just waiting for the paint to arrive. At least my drawing board and waste paper basket is installed! By the end of the month, if not sooner, we should be up and running making art.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Happy New Year, Everyone

I have a cold thats given me a cough, sniffles, sneezing and a raging sore throat. So I didn't stay up to see the New Year in.
Habby Dew Year, Ebbry-wodd.
Next morning I felt marginally better. Just as well, the whole family descended on us for New Year's dinner, a proper Hogmanay feast. Well, not quite the entire Trewhitt clan. The Birmingham contingent had their own major celebration in downtown King's Norton. But greetings were exchanged nonetheless.
The whole day went well from what I could see. The grandchildren played, we had the meal and I washed up afterwards, ably assisted by eldest grandson who is such by a considerable margin at 18. Normally washing up is a half hour job at the most. But today it was a good two hours or so. There were ten of us at table which meant the kitchen/diner had to be seriously re-arranged in our small terraced house and superfluous furniture removed temporarily elsewhere. So kitchen clean-up not only entailed washing up but restoring the kitchen to its original state. And to think at the beginning of this operation I cheerfully (and over-optimistically) said I would bring the coffee through in twenty minutes or so when I'd finished. I was quite surprised to see it was getting dark by the time all was done.
Then eldest grandson wanted a game of chess. OK., we played but the days of making allowances for tender years are over. One seven year old grandson gave me a fair run for my money while we were down in Wales. He does not like me to give him an easy game. He doesn't give me one, that's for sure. Eldest grandson gave me a hard game too. He pushed me into a corner with a vicious combination of knight and bishop backed up by his queen keeping my two bishops pinned. Checkmate was inevitable. Then he offered me his queen on a plate and it was all over. I won, but only just. Anyway, it was just for fun. It is New Year and we played with a novelty set: a "Lord of the Rings" limited edition chess set I was given when I retired from nursing. Nearly three whole years ago.
Doesn't time fly?
We've had a good Hogmanay.
Happy New Year then, and lang may your lum reek*. Carbon emissions notwithstanding!!!

*Lang may your lum reek = long may your chimney smoke/may your home fires never go out.